KKFN’s 4-Steps to Scoring Pro Football 10,000+ Users Year After Year

by JJ Pellini Bonneville Denver

Case Study Highlights

  • 10,000+ users for five years in a row
  • $20,000 revenue for station
  • Pushed online football groups, such as office pools
  • Advertisers received heavy branding across all assets

The Idea

KKFN-FM “The Fan” is a sports radio station out of Denver, Colorado. We’ve been running our pick’em for over fifteen years – football is huge in our market, so it’s a natural fit for us. While you could certainly consider us experienced when it comes to pick’em contests, we still try to find ways to improve on what we’ve done the year before.

For us, we have three main goals:

  • Get tons of engagement with consumers throughout the entire season
  • Provide a valuable experience for our sponsors
  • Drive significant revenue for our station

The Execution

Over the years, we’ve learned there are four steps to our football pick’em success.

Step 1: Plan Early

Putting together a successful pro football pick’em can’t be a last minute idea.

Our first brainstorm meeting is in March (yes, March). Here we talk about what additional items we can offer in our sponsorship packages, start a list of advertisers to target, and generally talk about any ambitious ideas to outdo the past years.

We like to have our sponsorship packages finalized in April, and as early as June, our sales team is in talks with advertisers and securing sponsorships. This sets us up to get our pick’em in the hands of users earlier than all the others in our area – this is key.

In the past we’ve worked with advertisers ranging from bars, restaurants, and liquor stores to tire dealers, airlines, and jewelry stores. This year, our two sponsors were The Tilted Kilt, a local sports bar and pub, and beer distributor, Guinness. Both were thrilled to be a part of this major sports event knowing it would be a great opportunity to target their ideal demographic.

Step 2: Maximize Value to Advertisers

Both Guinness and The Tilted Kilt received heavy branding throughout the pick’em. This included logo placement in the header image, within the welcome text, and on the prize pages. Their branding was also displayed on all of our website ads.


We have a thorough email campaign as well. Not only do we send out two invitation emails, users receive a welcome email and weekly reminder emails. The sponsor’s branding is prominently displayed here as well.


We frequently posted about the contest on social media and included the sponsors in every social post to increase branding opportunities.


We also made sure to mention both businesses in all our on-air promo spots leading up to the start of the contest and any additional spots throughout the season.

We were also able to offer a unique opportunity on an on-site viewing party for one of the big games. The event was hosted at The Tilted Kilt’s sports bar and Guinness was able to offer commemorative etched pint glasses. This event was a ton of fun for the fans, and it allowed us a unique chance for our sponsors to connect with their consumers.


Step 3: Leverage VIP Pickers

One of the best ways to excite your audience keep them engaged all season long is by using VIP Pickers. These designated users have picks that are made public, so other participants can compete against their weekly scores.

For us, each of our sports show personalities are a VIP Picker. Not only can users check out the scores on the website, but the show hosts frequently talk about the their picks on air. Plus, if you incentivize your VIP Pickers with a prize for the winner, you’re guaranteed they’ll be jumping to make their picks each week.

We also offer our advertisers the chance to be VIP Pickers. Each week during the last season we did an on-air segment interviewing The Tilted Kilt Girls about who would be their picks for the upcoming games. We hosted these videos on a dedicated page on our website.


Step 4: Push Groups & Office Pools

If you really want to boost engagement, here’s our secret: Groups. Football pools are commonplace – I’m sure you or someone you know will be participating in one (or many!) football pools. And a football group means you’re signing-up multiple users.

But, groups have more benefits than just the amount of users. Having people sign up individually is good, but as their own stats start dwindling, they don’t remain that engaged. However, people in groups generally stay engaged for much longer as there are often prizes and incentives amongst the group itself.

We’ve seen so much success from groups, that each of our shows host their own football group. Listeners can sign up to join the group of their favorite KKFN “The Fan” personalities and compete against fellow listeners. Not only does this help boost our overall number of users, but it helps maintain user engagement throughout the season.

The Results

We’ve been able to reel in 10,000+ users a year for more than five years. This year we secured two sponsors for $20,000 revenue.

The advertisers appreciated the heavy branding opportunities we provided. The Tilted Kilt has already signed up to be a sponsor of future promotions with KKFN.

We have really high hopes for next year’s football pick’em including kick-off parties during preseason games, multiple engagement campaigns like quizzes and sweepstakes, and maybe even using iPads to encourage people to sign up for the pick’em at on-site, remote events.

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